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François Maurice Mitterrand

Mitterrand, François Maurice (1916–96), French politician, president of the republic from 1981–95. A cabinet minister in 11 governments during the Fourth Republic (1946–58), he opposed De Gaulle's establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958. A socialist and candidate of the non-Communist left, he first ran for the presidency in 1965, but was defeated by De Gaulle. He became head of the Socialist Party in 1971 and ran unsuccessfully for the presidency a second time in 1974, losing to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. He finally won in 1981. His party also won a majority in the National Assembly and initiated a program of mild nationalization and social reform. In the late 1980s his government became increasingly moderate.

See also: France.

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